Moving computer data from your local computer to web-hosted applications is known as cloud computing. There are many advantages to storing your email, photos, calendar, finances and documents online, including automatic backups, increased accessibility and the ability to share. There are also some disadvantages in moving your personal data to web-hosted storage. These may not be immediately apparent, so here’s a list:
A search warrant isn’t required for government access to your data. Maybe this doesn’t bother you, but it’s still something to consider.
Weak security systems may make your data vulnerable. This was recently seen when TechCrunch.com accessed and published internal Twitter information from documents stored on the Google Docs app. Access to the documents was provided by a hacker who obtained a password through an employee’s email account.
Third-party ability to lock up your data or access it. Many web-hosting apps have stipulations about how much of your data you can access or when you can access it. Some of your data may even be accessed for marketing purposes.
Server unavailability. You always run the risk of having a third-party server go down when you need to access your data.
All of these concerns may seem minor when weighed against the convenience of having your data backed up and available online. All the same, it’s a good idea to look at the downside before jumping onto the cloud. See this article on LifeHacker for more information.